How do you know if your child is ready for school? What does it even mean to be ‘ready for school?’
In a recent study, it was found that parents beliefs and values influenced their ideas about school readiness but universally, parent want the best for their children. We want them to feel safe and secure, happy and prepared for all that life can offer. And, when it comes to starting school, we worry they may not be ready, how they will cope, will they make friends, and will they be okay with such structured formal learning. Preparing your child for their first year of school can be a daunting process, particularly for new parents. Whether your child attends and early childhood service before school or not, nothing is quite like the formality of their day when they attend school.
Children over three are the greatest thinkers and enquirers – just count how many why’s in any conversation…..they know who they are & what they want. They are in charge of their own learning we know that qualified teachers & educators support them in their learning. That’s why when it comes to preparing them for school there are a lot of things that can be done to help them prepare for the transition.
So, what’s really important for the child to know or do before they head off to school – hint writing their name isn’t it (or isn’t only it – and if they can’t write their name before they go to school – don’t worry). Transitioning to school-life is much more than writing their name. It’s a combination of many things from their cognitive (thinking), social & emotional development to their physical ability and their belief about themselves.
Here at Rise Early Learning we focus on the top five important categories of school readiness.
Social and emotional
We support the child to interact appropriately with others. This may be represented by playing on their own and in a group setting, and by being able to communicate and express themselves to other children and adults. The child will have an ability to regulate their emotions, and express their emotions. They can follow directions from adults and focus on tasks.
When attending school, the formality of the day and larger ratios means children require an element of independence to manage their own day. This includes being able to go to the toilet and wash hands by themselves, knowing their bag and being able to retrieve their belongings as needed. They can manage putting their hat on, retrieving their own lunch and feeding themselves, opening containers and drinking water as needed. Being able to find their own way back to the classroom is also really important.
Language & Literacy
The child is able to communicate with others through words. They can tell adults what they need with clear words. They are able to listen and understand sentences, stories and conversations. They have a serve and return approach to talking to others, this means they speak and listen, wait for the other person to have their say, interpret what they hear and then return the conversation.
Physical health includes the child’s coordination and fine and gross motor skills. Essentially this is presented as playing, running, climbing, sliding, hopping, skipping, jumping, holding small things, turning pages in books, threading or building blocks and lego. It’s really important that they can use their large muscle groups before we ask them to start using their small muscle groups. This is a vital step in learning to write their name.
Cognitive skills are presented as the child understanding, learning, thinking, paying attention, counting, and even following directions such as waiting and sharing. When you pair this with their physical development we see motor planning at its best – this is school readiness.
Signs your child may need more support
So, what are some signs that may indicate your child needs further support to prepare them for the school transition. It is important to remember that every child is different, and so is their learning and development journey.
If you notice these things and school is looming next year, this may indicate they need further support:
- They’re not toilet trained, or able to go to the toilet on their own
- They need support to be dressed, eat and other daily tasks
- They don’t play well with others or have difficulty in sharing, or working together
- They don’t enjoy seated activities like drawing, reading or other tasks that require them to focus and sit still
- They aren’t able to speak clearly, have trouble understanding words or listening to others
- They don’t respond well when rules are changed in play, games or other activities
- They get overwhelmed when they need to follow direction or have expectations set
- They have trouble following three simple instructions in a row.
Where to go for more information or help
It is important to work together and raise any concerns you may have about your child’s school-readiness, with your teacher, early childhood educator, centre manager, and general practitioner. Always remember that every child is unique and so is their own learning and development journey. That’s why it is important to work with your educator to build a plan that will support your child.
At Rise Early Learning, our Qld Government Approved Kindergarten Program has a focus on connecting with community, building resilience and self-confidence, developing problem solving skills & learning how to build friendships.
Together, with the formal education program designed by our qualified teacher, we will help make the transition to school a joyful and exciting experience for children and parents.
Here are some handy websites that can help you: